Monday, October 12, 2015

[Review]: "Base Instincts"

Base Instincts by Larissa Ione
Publisher: Riptide Publishing (September 10, 2015)
Series: Demonica, 11.7
Genre: M/M Romance

As a Seminus demon, Raze’s life literally depends on having sex with females. The problem is that he doesn’t desire females, and it’s physically impossible for him to be with males. Thankfully, he and his best friend, Fayle, have an arrangement that keeps him alive . . . if lonely. He finds some solace in his work as a medic at Thirst, a vampire club known for its rough clientele. But his carefully structured world turns upside down when he meets a mysterious male who makes him want what he can never have.

Slake is an assassin used to getting what he wants, and what he wants is Raze. But he also wants to earn back the soul he sold when he was a much different demon. All he has to do is capture a runaway succubus named Fayle and hand her over to her family. What he doesn’t count on is being caught himself by a web of lies—and his attraction to Raze.

Raze and Slake must navigate a dangerous world to be together. But as Fayle’s jealousy of their relationship turns deadly, they find themselves embroiled in a battle not only for their love, but their lives and souls. 

Where to Buy*:
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Reviews of Arthur's Previous Novels:

Desire Unchained (#2) -- TBQ
Passion Unleashed (#3) -- TBQ

My Review:

It's been a long time since I read Larissa Ione, and I'm glad that I grabbed this one from NetGalley. I definitely need to go back and catch up on this series. [Just FYI: the last book I read in this series was #3. This is 11.7. Um, yeah, it's been a LONG time.]

For the most part, I really liked this book. But there were a few things, somewhat spoilery, that I had some issues with. I'll get into that in a bit.

There was a lot of a great chemistry between Raze and Slake, and I loved that. Also, the world that Ione has created is fantastic, and reminded me why I love a good PNR series, especially one, like this, that is more than just vampires and werewolves.

I also loved that Ione decided to go beyond the heterosexual couples she's had for all the previous books in this series. I'm all for more diversity in my romances.

But . . . and here's where it gets a bit spoilery, this (the men being gay) also created a bit of an issue in the book. Raze's demon species can only experience sexual satisfaction (which is required for his kind to live) from females. He cannot come with a man, even though he's always been attracted to men. When he does have sex with Slake, he finds that he has no problem at all reaching orgasm or feeding his sexual need.

Yay, right? Well, yes, but he then questions why this was possible. When talking to the head of the Underworld hospital, he discovers that Slake's species is unique: they're born female, but at a certain age have the chance to choose whether to remain female or transform into a male. Slake, then, is a transgender male in this paranormal world. Which is GREAT, I'm 100% happy with this (more diversity after all). The problem I had is their idea for why Raze is able to have sex with Slake: that Raze's instincts are messed up, sensing that Slake was born a biological female, therefore allowing for the loophole of the two men being able to mate.

Maybe it's just me, but that rubbed me the wrong way. For one, it's implying that even though Slake is male, in every sense of the word (including physical – this is a paranormal world, and it's a 'magical' process, after all) that at some level he was still seen as the girl he was born as. And that's not the best way to represent a transgender character, at least in my opinion. This just felt like it was cheating in order to tell the story, if that makes sense. I would have been okay with an explanation along the lines of “Love is love, and true mates win over gender. These two men can mate because they belong together”. But that was not the case.

Also, some of the conflict over Slake's soul seemed to be too easily taken care of as the book was drawing to a close. I'm glad things worked out, obviously, but it felt like it was an easy way out so the book could end happily.

Favorite quote:

"I don't trust people who don't cuss."

"Why not?"

"Because people who don't cuss are silently judging you. Pulling a morally superior act, but it's just an act. You know they're thinking bad shit; they just won't say it."

"Maybe they're being polite."

"Or maybe they're not being sincere."

Still, I truly did enjoy this book and read it in just a few hours. I'd recommend it for anyone looking for a sexy M/M paranormal. And though it's part of a series, you can read it alone without being lost. I'm just curious if other readers felt the way I did about the handling of why these two men, “anomalies” in their species, were able to mate.


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I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for my honest opinion.

*Note: The quote used belongs to Larissa Ione; TBQ's Book Palace does not claim it.

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Have you read Larissa Ione? 


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!

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